Facebook reports millions of post takedowns

Facebook on Wednesday announced it has pulled down millions of posts over the past three months for violating its policies against hate speech and child exploitation, marking an increase in the number of posts it took action against amid heightened scrutiny of how the company polices its enormous social networks.

Facebook’s latest transparency report, which was released on Wednesday, explains in more granular detail than ever before which posts the company is removing from its main social network as well as its popular image-sharing platform Instagram.

According to the report, between July and September, Facebook took action against 11.6 million posts, images or videos for depicting child sexual exploitation, 7 million for promoting hate speech, 3.2 million for bullying or harassment violations and 5.2 million for sharing terrorist propaganda. Facebook has more than 2.4 billion users.

On Instagram during that time period, the company took action against 754,000 posts depicting child exploitation and 133,000 posts for violating its policies against terrorist content. Facebook’s transparency report did not detail the number of posts removed from Instagram for violating its policies against hate speech or harassment. Instagram has approximately 1 billion users.

On a press call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg implicitly hit rivals including Twitter and Google’s YouTube, which do not offer transparency reports with the same level of detail.

“Some folks look at the numbers that we’re putting out … and come to the conclusion that because we’re reporting big numbers, that must mean so much more harmful content is happening on our services than others,” Zuckerberg said. “I don’t think that’s what this says at all.”

He added that he believes the enormous numbers reported show Facebook is “working harder” than other companies to identify, take down and offer details on such content decisions.